1. QB Mac Jones
Belichick has done just about everything that he can to downplay any sort of potential quarterback controversy. Newton will be the starting quarterback, and Jones will back him up despite being the No. 15 pick in the draft just a few months ago. Still, the Jones hype is palpable.
The issue of Newton getting replaced by Jones is a matter of when, not if. Jones could expedite that process if he shows that he has made progress in fixing some of the flaws that showed up on tape during his time at Alabama.
Can Mac Jones show he’s ready to start for the Patriots?
Jones needs to show that he has improved his ability to make plays on the run and go through his progressions in full. If we know anything about him, we know that his deep accuracy and arm talent are both excellent, and that should give him a fairly low floor in the NFL.
He might need to wait until 2021 before he properly grabs the reins, but he could use their three preseason games as a way to give Patriots fans hope that the next decade will be as prosperous as the last one (or at least a fraction of it). A few touchdowns against backups in burgundy might not be a guarantee of NFL success, but it will allow him to flex the arm talent.